Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dodging the Estate Tax

Here is an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal, which discusses medical issues families of wealthy Americans are facing as 2009 comes to an end and 2010 is ushered in. Why? In 2010, under current law, the estate tax lapses. For someone with an estate large enough to trigger the tax, dying in 2010 versus 2009 can have huge financial implications.

The article raises a good question -- if Congress couldn't fix this mess of a law this year, what makes us think they'll get the job done in 2010? Only time will tell.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

More on the Federal Estate Tax

Watching and reading about Congress' action related to the estate tax, I came across an interesting tidbit in the NY Times:

There is yet another wrinkle. When they scheduled the demise of the estate tax for 2009, the authors of the 2001 tax measure replaced it with a capital gains tax of 15 percent on inherited property that is later sold.

The threshold for being subject to those taxes is set lower, with the first $1.3 million in capital gains exempted for general heirs and $3 million for spouses. Democrats argue that thousands of estates that would not have been subject to taxes under the current law could get hit in 2010 even as those at the higher end of inheritance scale escape the 45 percent tax bite.

Taxes are a certainty, but how the play out appears not to be. Stay tuned for more updates.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Aging in a Rural Community

The NY Times ran a touching article today about aging in rural America.

Growing old has never been easy. But in isolated, rural spots like this, it is harder still, especially as the battering ram of recession and budget cuts to programs for the elderly sweep through many local and state governments.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Farms and the Estate Tax

According to this post, it appears that some are advocating Congress to exclude farms from the estate tax. Interesting? Would that be small farms, big ag farms? Ah, yes, the ever present question of definition in the law.

Still no firm answers on the estate tax, and the clock is ticking.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Improve Your Health by Gift Giving?

Sure, we all know that gift giving can, in some cases, result in a tax break. But what about improving your health? That was the topic of a NY Times article this week, In A Month of Giving, A Healthy Reward. The article focuses on the book, 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker.

“Giving for 29 days is not suggested as a cure for anything,” Ms. Walker said. “It’s simply a coping mechanism and a simple tool you can use that can help you change your thinking about whatever is going on. If you change your thinking, you change your experience.”
The concept and book sound intriguing....I'll have to give the book a read and the concept a try.